Burnt out newbie here!

Hi all, recently registered just because I feel like my plate is totally overflowing right now. Sorry if this seems like a pity post but I’m kind of hoping someone will have a Pearl of wisdom that may help me feel less desperate.

I’m 38 and my husband is disabled, he has pins in his legs and feet as well as PTSD. We have 3 kids, 16, 11 and 8. We home educate & the eldest starts college in Sept. My middle child is autistic, youngest is suspected ADHD. My life revolves around my little family & learning.

Feb 2020 my Mum was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. I’m 1 of 3, the youngest & the vast majority of her care falls on me. I’m responsible for all household duties, her medications & do most of her personal care. My sister does some but mainly just appointments. My brother will help sometimes with providing meals and taking over bedtime, but my nephew lives with my Mum. He’s almost no help. He’s an addict & just adds to the cleaning jobs mostly because I’m having to washing his dishes & clothes etc on top of Mums.

Over the last 2 years I’ve exhausted myself, mentally, physically & emotionally. I feel spent. I’ve not been well myself & am struggling physically. I barely get time to eat. I feel spread so thin I’m neglecting all the people in my life & can’t fit all the jobs in I need to.

Yesterday, my mother in law rang. She’s been diagnosed with lung cancer. We’re not incredibly close, but I burst into tears. We are all the family she has & my first thought was ‘f**k, I can’t look after another person!’ Then I felt so damn guilty for thinking about how her illness is going to impact me, rather than her! I felt so selfish & awful!

Nobody besides my husband seems to understand how it’s all getting too much & I’m worried I’m ending for burn out. But I’m worried if I crash, who will look after the people I love? I just don’t know who to turn to for help. I considered seeing my GP, asking for antidepressants, because I know I’m depressed, but trying to get an appointment is like mission impossible & I just don’t have the strength to fight for it.

I’ve been told to put my youngest 2 kids in school, but I know this will crush them. We love home education & it’s been a way of life for our family for 10 years now. The learning isn’t the hard part, it’s finding the time. My husband tries to do as much as he can while I’m with Mum, but even he gets hard pushed for time with him being the only one out of all of us that drives, and now his Mum has cancer he’s going to be driving for even more hospital appointments than usual.

I know there’s no magic wand to make my problems go away, but when you haven’t had a break for over 2 years, you just get desperate for some kind of break or help.
Sorry for such a long post & my tale of woe, I hope someone understands my situation & can relate. Surely there can’t be only me feeling like this whilst caring for people they love? Thanks for reading!

Welcome to the forum. I understand completely.
My husband and I were supporting my son with severe learning difficulties and all four parents, very Ill and disabled. Caring can kill. My husband died soon after his dad, I nearly died from a serious illness too. You cannot keep trying to do everything for so many. I had counselling which helped me, newly disabled and newly widowed, to set my priorities. Son came first as he couldn’t speak up for himself, mum could. Everyone has to stop assuming you will be able to help them. Your wellbeing matters too. If you get I’ll or died they would have to find a way to manage without you. Much better that they find it now.

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Hi Hellen and welcome.

The problem with being everyone’s carer is that they all expect it and no one thinks about “who cares for the carer?” You need time for you. And for you and hubby. And quality time for you and your little family. That has to come first, or you won’t be fit to do anything. I’ve been a multiple carer for years and I know that without the odd break to recharge the batteries I’d end up needing care myself. It’s a hard-learned lesson.

You’ve started by being honest with yourself about it, and with your husband, of course. Now it’s time to be honest with everyone else, and seek outside help: if the family can’t do it, then social services are there to assist.

Ask for help, before things get impossible. A good start would be to contact the Carers UK helpline for advice on where and how to contact social services. It’s open Monday to Friday 9-6pm on 0808 808 7777. Or if you can’t talk about things over the phone with the kids present, try an email: advice@carersuk.org

Hi Helen

Welcome to the forum, its sounds like you have a lot to cope with and understandably you are struggling to juggle everything. The forum is a great place to get advice, support and help from other carers but I also wanted to highlight some other ways you can connect with carers. We are currently running some online meetups for carers to take some time for themselves and chat to other carers. Feel free to join if you’d like to and there’s no pressure to share anything you don’t want to. I’m sure you’ll find others in a similar position to yourself.

You can find information on how to register to our online meetups at the following pages:

Care for a Cuppa: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/get-support/online-meetups- This social is a great way to have a little break if you are able to and spend some quality time talking to people who understand what you are going through right now.

Share and Learn: Share and Learn | Carers UK - these sessions range from creative writing activities to beginners Latin dance sessions.

Please have a look at the above and come along if you would like to.

with best wishes

Hi Hellen

You are in overload and will soon be Man Down with burn out.

Do not feel guilty, you are overloaded, this is natural human response.

Your siblings will have to step up for their mother because you have other priorities now - your family and mother in law with lung cancer.

Seek all the help that you can get. When your eldest goes to college that will be a massive dynamic change but it could also be an opportunity for your middle one to be geared up to go to a school for him at the same time, just like his older brother is going to his school. Both will come home with more to talk about.
Your youngest won’t want to miss out and will then want to go to school.
What is to lose? give it a try.
your MIL’s prognosis?
Could your younger two return to home schooling when you have the time to do it again?

Be kind to yourself, your body is giving you warning signs, don’t ignore them.

Thank you so much for your replies. It makes me feel less guilty about admitting I’m not coping so well.
I am a little confused as to whether I can contact social services myself to enquire about getting some help to care for my Mum even though my sister has power of attorney for my mums health and finances?
I’ll definitely look into the contact details that have been posted & check it out. I know something has got to give & whether my family like it or not I’ve got to get a break. We are looking to book a short break, hopefully somewhere peaceful. I just know I can’t tell my family I want a few days to myself and stay at home, they’ll find an excuse to call me back in knowing I’m still local, so I’m looking to get to the coast for a little holiday.
It was only when I was looking into this that I realised everyone else had been on holiday at least twice since my Mum was diagnosed, yet myself, hubby & kids haven’t as much as had a day out in 2 years. It made me feel so awful for the kids. So I don’t feel quite so selfish about booking some time off. I think we’ve earned it!

We are going to play it by ear with the education of the 2 youngest. If they’re not adverse to trying school once they see the oldest start college in Sept then we can give it a try, maybe even ask a local school to consider flexi schooling.
Thank you so much for your kind words & understanding, I appreciate the advice!

Helen you can contact social services as a caregiver who can’t manage it.

The power of attorney comes in when your mum does not have the capacity to make decisions for herself. As long as your mother has the capacity to make decisions the POA is not applicable in that sense, but it can be used for bills and bank etc.

You can make that judgement call about the level of care and need for extra help as you are the major caregiver and the others have no capacity or will to do any extra care.

I’d also say a review of the workload share is overdue with your other siblings particularly with the fact in mind that they’ve been having holidays and you haven’t had a day out.

Definitely book a break, get it booked and then tell them the dates as a done deal.

Leave the laundry for them to pick up in your absence and the shopping etc.
As you are on your way send them a message you didn’t get chance to do as you were busy prepping for holiday. However, it might be left for your return, for which you can justifiably challenge them about it and state your case of the unfair care workload on you.

Your younger two might want to spread their wings and find new adventures and friends at school.
There is nothing to lose, if they don’t like it/it doesn’t work out, then they can be home schooled because you already do it. The eldest going to college in September is a good time for the other two to start school. Perhaps after your holiday when you are doing everything again on your return you will realise just how much really actually do over and above the lots of things you know you do and you may be more in favour of trying school.

Definitely take a break. Your children have to be your top priority, they deserve a happy healthy mum.

I suspect it will be a wake up call for all the family, but you MUST turn off your phone, or leave it behind altogether. They have no right to “call you home”. If they can’t manage mum’s needs for a few days, then mum needs to move into residential care. Not what anyone wants, but maybe what she needs?

Always remember that everyone else is putting their own needs above yours, so you have to put your own needs first too.